Sunday, March 2, 2008

Exchange Student Alleges He Was Starved While in Egypt

The AP and ABC News are reporting that an American exchange student and his parents are accusing a Coptic host family of starving him.
It is possible that they were a bit stingy (they deny it), but there are other considerations:

1. American dollars go a long way in Egypt. For example, a meal that costs $6.50 in the U.S. costs about $0.75 in Egypt. So, assuming his parents sent him with enough money (per their responsibility), he had more than enough to buy food. Where did that money go?

2. He was caught stealing food. This tells me that he was not starved by the Hanna's. Starvation presupposes captivity. I cannot starve someone whose movements I am not absolutely controlling. If he was out stealing, then they weren't holding him captive. He was out and, ostensibly, had money. What was he doing?

3. Coptic fasts are not "fasts" in the colloquial sense; they are essentially vegan diets. One tends to gain weight during the Coptic fasts, as the diet they prescribe is carbohydrate-heavy. Maybe he didn't like the food (The family asserts that he was offered non-fasting food.).
4. Why not change host families as he was free to do? Why not go home?

This story is stranger than fiction.


Jake said...

Nader- I know you tend to reserve your opinions in this blog, but I would like to offer mine. Is it possible that the kid had a parasite or a virus which caused his weight loss? Salmonella is common around the world and is a parasite that lives in your large intestine and feeds off your food. That is a possibility. Is it also a possibility that since the kid was forced to go home and end his trip early, his parents would like to get their money back? Making a big commotion and lawsuit may have been a way to make a quick buck. That is what I think happened. But of course we will never know for sure. All I know is that I'm happy the kid is feeling better and hopefully will completely regain his health.

Nader Alfie said...


Thanks so much for your thoughts.

A parasite or virus is a definite possibility.

Regarding his being sent home, I did not read/hear anything it, so I can't speculate.

Anonymous said...

seems to me this kid is a big batty boy! Get your HepA shot before going to an AFRICAN country you moron... and Nader i love your argument that proves he was never held captive. seems to me that all this kid needed was a brain and some cipro and maybe he would not have lost that much wieght. Or maybe he had a eating disorder and is too scared to admit it. I mean come on, if you are a guy with a disease like that people are going to HATE HATE like i am doing right now. Lol. but as jake said God willing this kid will feel better (and hopefully grow a set) =0)

Keorode said...

You make some good points. Thanks for this post, I hadn't previously heard of this story.